The Time of the End

“Thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”
—Daniel 12:4

IN THE VISIONS GIVEN to Daniel by the Lord, he had seen the righteous persecuted and the wicked triumphant. The expression, ‘time of the end,’ used in our text and also in the ninth verse of the same chapter, is descriptive of a period of time when these circumstances would be changed, not suddenly within twenty-four hours, but in a reasonably short time as compared with the millenniums of the past, during which evil has usually triumphed, and evildoers for the most part have flourished.

The time of the end, however, does not in the remotest sense signify the end of human experience on earth, such as that traditionally described by the expression, ‘end of time.’ It is, rather, that time in the outworking of the Divine plan which leads up to the establishment of Christ’s kingdom, and therefore, ultimately, the destruction of all unrighteousness, and the end of all evil, including sickness and death.

Chronologically, there is strong evidence to substantiate the fact that the prophetic time of the end began in the year A.D. 1799, one of the events marking this being Napoleon’s destruction of the temporal power of the pope, and thus the end of papacy’s power to persecute as in the past. The year 1914 was an important milestone in the time of the end, for it was the outbreak of the first World War in that year which led to the overthrow of most of the hereditary ruling houses of Europe, and a general disintegration of the pre-1914 social order.


Since that date, the world and the United States of America have seen the process of disintegration continue. A worldwide economic depression followed World War I, starting in 1929 and continuing into the 1930’s. The world was still struggling with this depression when a second worldwide war broke out in 1939. Although the United States tried to stay out of the war, it was drawn into the conflict by an attack of the Japanese military on its naval base in Hawaii. The war ended in Europe in 1945 and a few months later in Asia. The United Nations organization that was formed at the close of World War II was hosted by the United States who had shunned its predecessor, the League of Nations.

Police action, taken by the newly founded United Nations to maintain law and order in the world, caused the United States to become involved in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. It was a war of communist nations against noncommunist nations. The rivalry between the communist Soviet Union and its ideology and the democratic United States and its ideology, as the two superpowers of the world, led to the cold war between them that extended for decades. Each tried to influence the other nations of the world. Meanwhile, many colonial possessions of European countries were declaring independence. France lost its possession in Asia known as French Indochina (Vietnam) and that possession was partitioned into North Vietnam under communist control and South Vietnam as an independent nation. Incursions from North Vietnam into South Vietnam gradually drew the United States into another war starting in 1963. The Vietnam War did not end until 1974 when treaties were finally negotiated. This was a debilitating and unpopular war which caused severe degradation of the U.S. economy.


Wars of every type and kind continue throughout the world. There were a few major conflicts such as the war between Iraq and Iran which spanned many years, and the war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan. The Soviet Union became bogged down in Afghanistan very much like the United States was in Vietnam, and it led eventually to the economic ruin and dissolution of the Soviet Union. Iraq made peace with Iran and then tried to overrun Kuwait and was stopped by the United States in the Gulf War in 1991.

Meanwhile, the newly formed nation of Israel was attacked time and again by the Arab League, but not only managed to survive, but gained land with each conflict. They are now suffering through terrorist attacks by suicide bombers. Such an attack on the United States occurred on September 11, 2001 and caused the loss of thousands of lives and the complete destruction of the famed Twin Towers in New York City. This led to the United States sending military troops into Afghanistan to hunt down terrorists and destroy their base of operation.

As trouble continued throughout the world, and among many nations, the United States engaged in a war with Iraq to prevent use of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein, and to oust his regime from that country. The United States went ahead with this war without the approval of the United Nations, whose inspectors were searching that country for evidence of such weapons. Although the two former superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union built up huge supplies of weapons of mass destruction during the cold war years, their negotiations to reduce stockpiles have been slow and currently are in a holding pattern. Russia (formerly the Soviet Union) has announced that such talks are to cease since the United States went ahead with the war against Iraq on its own. Meanwhile, other nations have acquired the capability of making nuclear weapons. The aim seems to be—how can the use of such weapons be controlled? This was the reason given for conducting the present invasion of Iraq.

The process of disintegration continues. It will take the power of the kingdom of Christ to save the human race from complete ruin, and it will be this manifestation of kingdom authority and power that will mark the close of the time of the end. So far as we know, the Bible does not point out the exact date for this outstanding occurrence in the Divine plan for human salvation, but we are confident that it is near—very near.


More convincing even than time prophecies are the evidences that the foretold events of the time of the end have been, and are, taking place. In our text, two of these signs of the times are mentioned—running ‘to and fro,’ and the increase of ‘knowledge’ which has led to the running to and fro.

We might think of this increase of knowledge from two standpoints—religious and general. Partly as a result of the restraint of papal authority at the beginning of the time of the end, there soon came into being the great Bible societies, which, through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, have supplied to the reading public countless millions of Bibles in all the principal languages.

Prior to this Bibles were scarce, and in many countries banned. Now the general public in most countries can have and study them. Not all readers have become students of the Bible, but light from this ‘torch of civilization’ began, and is continuing, to break down many of the superstitions of the past, and to set people free from the binding influences of Satan.

While the principles of justice and righteousness set forth in the Bible had a far-reaching effect for good throughout the western world during this period, an increasing understanding of God’s great plan of salvation has been given only to the few. This is as we should expect; for, according to the Divine plan, it is not until the kingdom of Christ is established at the close of the time of the end that the knowledge of the glory of God will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.—Hab. 2:14

This present-day knowledge of God’s plan is referred to in Daniel 12:9,10 where we read that in the time of the end “none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” The reference is not to the brilliant of the world, but to those who are wise toward God. “The fear [reverence] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Ps. 111:10) Proper reverence for the Lord includes confidence in his Word of Truth, and it is through this Word that God reveals his plans and purposes.

It is through his Word that the Lord has revealed the meaning of the events which occur during the time of the end. The unbelieving world is confused and fear-stricken by what they see coming upon the earth; but the ‘wise,’ understanding the meaning of the times in which we are living, rejoice to realize that the long-promised kingdom of the Lord is so near.


It has been during the time of the end that all the major inventions have come, including those which have made global travel commonplace. The first steamboat was operated in 1807, and the first steam locomotive in 1831. These were very crude and slow of speed compared with modern means of travel by sea, land, and air. As knowledge has increased throughout this time of the end, the speed of travel has kept pace. Ocean liners cross the Atlantic in four days, jet planes in a few hours. Trains travel one hundred miles an hour and more, and the legal speed of automobiles in many places is from fifty-five to seventy miles an hour, and more. Thousands are now traveling by air at speeds exceeding five hundred miles an hour and supersonic planes at one thousand miles per hour.

The increase of knowledge during this time of the end has been manifest in every aspect of human experience. The telegraph was invented in 1844. Now, almost any part of the world can be in instant communication with the world at large whenever desired. The communication of thought by radio, television, and the internet is beyond comprehension. The comforts and conveniences along all lines, produced by the foretold increase of knowledge in this time of the end, stagger the imagination. They are not yet available to all mankind, but they are here.

In the field of medical science, marvelous progress in knowledge continues to be made. The accumulative result of this is that now the average length of human life is close to seventy years, compared with a little over thirty years at the beginning of the time of the end. Medical science now predicts that soon it will not be unusual for people to live until they are one hundred twenty-five years old.

The foretold increase of knowledge has flooded the world with books, magazines, and papers, which in itself further increases knowledge. Think of the contrast between the present time and the beginning of the time of the end, at the turn of the nineteenth century, when many people were not able to read and write!


While the increase of knowledge during the time of the end has brought many blessings to the human race, enriching the lives of millions both physically and culturally; through its misuse it has also added to man’s sorrows, and created problems which human ingenuity is unable to solve. In the world of travel, the greatest speeds are being used for military purposes. Fighter and bombing planes, rockets and guided missiles of destruction, can now be used to destroy the enemy thousands of miles distant.

The civilized world recoiled with horror over the destruction wrought by bombing planes during World War II. But what was done then will fade into insignificance compared with what is now possible. The United States has perfected a guided missile that can be shot through the air at a tremendous velocity, and deliver a nuclear bomb thousands of miles away.


As we have noted, the foretold increase of knowledge which was to come in the time of the end has flooded the world with literature. It is also constantly presenting ideas to the young and old through radio, television and the internet. Much of this information thus put into circulation is good, tending to ennoble the lives of those receiving it. Certainly we are all glad that the Bible is being so freely and widely circulated, and information about it is on the Worldwide Web.

But literature, radio, television, and the internet are not used exclusively for good purposes. These means of circulating information are also used by the wicked and the selfish with the result that the minds of men, women, and children are being debased.


The increase of knowledge in the medical field during the time of the end has been phenomenal. Great strides have been made in mental and physical hygiene, surgery, and the development of the so-called wonder drugs. The result of this is a greatly increased life expectancy, and also a greatly reduced average of child and infant mortality. In the United States the number of people past sixty-five years of age is increasing rapidly.

This, in turn, is creating a serious problem. The Social Security law is helping insofar as the actual needs of this increasing number of the aged are concerned. But people, even the elderly, must have more than food, shelter, and clothing. Every normal human being wants to be active and, if possible, creatively employed.

The Lord’s people who know the Truth of the Divine plan, the wise of Daniel’s prophecy who understand, are not confronted with this problem. They are glad to have all the time possible to study the Truth, and to make it known to others. For these the retirement age is a boon, for they have longed for the time when they could spend more time and effort in the service of the Lord. But to many, the increase of the lifespan has thus presented a problem. Officials of government are recognizing this, and systematic studies are being made to discover how best to meet the situation. Furthermore, the quality of life is reduced.

No matter which way we turn we find critical conditions facing the world. International tensions do not lessen. The nerve centers of trouble shift from one part of the world to another. When a half solution is found for one situation, trouble erupts somewhere else. All of this at a time when the foretold increase of knowledge could have produced security and plenty for all nations!

The Lord knew it would be so. He knew that by permitting mankind to discover some of the secrets of nature and use them, man would also misuse them, and thus demonstrate his inability to govern himself successfully, even though equipped with the wonderful knowledge denied to former generations. Thus the time of the end is a day of preparation for the kingdom, not only in its introduction to better ways of living, but also in the fact that, apart from God, the human race would not continue to live at all, that it would foolishly and selfishly destroy itself. The need for God is being revealed.


Daniel’s prophecy of the time of the end takes us still further into the future. The increase of knowledge, the running to and fro, the time of trouble, are already here, and increasing. But these developments are but leading up to the glorious things which God will accomplish for mankind. The prophecies of the Bible would mean little to us did they not emphasize the Divine purpose to establish Messiah’s kingdom in the earth, to do for humanity what they cannot do for themselves.

Thus the events of the time of the end lead up to a glorious deliverance for God’s people, and for all who will then, when given full opportunity, become God’s people. In forecasting the time of trouble which would occur in the time of the end, the Lord said to Daniel, “At that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”—Dan. 12:1

Daniel’s people are God’s people, and at the close of the time of the end they will all be delivered from death. To Daniel, specifically, God said, “Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest [in death], and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” (Dan. 12:13) The Hebrew word here translated ‘lot’ is the one in the Old Testament used in connection with the casting of lots. Symbolically it denotes one’s destiny, or chosen place.


When Daniel is delivered from death in the “better resurrection,” his lot, or chosen place in the plan of God, will be among the Ancient Worthies, the “princes in all the earth.” (Ps. 45:16; Heb. 11:35-40) He will be one of those to whom, in the kingdom, the people from the east, west, north, and south will look for instruction and guidance.—Luke 13:28,29

This group of faithful ones, of whom Daniel will be one, will be the human phase of the kingdom. As ‘princes’ they will work in harmony with the spiritual phase of the kingdom composed of Jesus and his glorified church, the one hundred and forty-four thousand who stand with him on Mount Zion, and who will live and reign with him a thousand years.—Ps. 2:6,8; Rev. 14:1; 20:6

It will be at the end of the time of the end when the last of these will pass beyond the veil. We are confident that time is now drawing near. With those who will participate in the spiritual and human phases of the kingdom all raised from the dead, including those who are described as a “great multitude” of servants in the kingdom (Rev. 7:9-17), the work of delivering the remainder of mankind will speedily begin.

The Scriptures do not furnish the details, but it seems reasonable that some will escape death in the time of trouble and be the first to begin to receive restitution blessings. Increasing length of life will no longer be a problem. Feebleness will no longer accompany long life. The obedient, in fact, will return to the days of their youth. In that day they shall not say “I am sick.”—Job 33:25; Isa. 33:24

Daniel was told, and the promise is reiterated throughout the Scriptures in various ways, that the dead will be raised, that those who “sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” (Dan. 12:2) It will be a time of trial and judgment, and many will be held in contempt because of their past until they demonstrate their sincere desire to do better. But it will be a glorious time of blessing for all who will conform to the laws of the kingdom. We believe those blessings are near!

This is the message we now have the privilege of proclaiming far and wide as we have the opportunity. One of the reasons the Lord has enabled the wise to understand the meaning of events in this time of the end is that they might bear witness to the world concerning the incoming kingdom blessings. It is this that the Holy Spirit has commissioned all the consecrated people of God to do. As members of the body of Christ we come under the commission outlined by the Prophet Isaiah, when he wrote:

“The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.”—Isa. 61:1,2

The ‘day of vengeance’ here mentioned is manifested by the time of trouble which Daniel foretold to be one of the closing events of the time of the end. Thousands are mourning because of this trouble, and it is our glorious privilege to give them a message of comfort, to explain to them the meaning of the trouble, and to give them assurance that soon all trouble will end, that their loved ones will be restored to life and that “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”—Rev. 21:4

Dawn Bible Students Association
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